Streetwise Professor

September 28, 2010

Unintended, But Foreseen

Filed under: Clearing,Commodities,Derivatives,Economics,Exchanges,Financial crisis,Politics — The Professor @ 9:57 am

In today’s FT:

LCH.Clearnet, Europe’s largest independent clearing house, and the London Stock Exchange have been rebuffed by one of their biggest rivals, Deutsche Börse group, in an attempt to break into trading and clearing of off-exchange equity derivatives.

The moves are a sign that the commercial interests of some exchanges and clearing houses could undermine efforts by global regulators to enact sweeping reforms of the vast over-the-counter derivatives markets.

. . . .

One US-based clearing industry expert said: “It is an interesting conflict where you have regulators saying you have to clear and you have to have competition in clearing but there are monopoly providers out there thwarting that. This is going to create a problem for that vision.”

This is from a piece that just came out (link to follow when available) in the Journal of Applied Corporate Finance (written in July):

First, the extensive scale and scope economies associated with clearing make it likely that the clearing industry will be highly oligopolistic, and that strategic considerations will influence decisively the way that the industry develops. Moreover, scope economies across trade execution and clearing (Pirrong, 2010b) will also affect the strategic and efficiency forces that will shape industry structure.  Strategic considerations will almost certainly drive a wedge between what is optimal for the individual decision makers, and what is optimal for the economy. [Emphasis added.]

From my Cato piece (written in May):

Moreover, the evolution of market structure in response to a mandate is difficult to predict. Given the scale and scope economies, it is unlikely that the market for CCPs will be competitive. In the presence of such indivisibilities and network effects, competitive processes do not necessarily result in the evolution of an efficient market structure. Furthermore, the distributional effects of the formation of CCPs, private information about these effects, and the ability of market participants to influence the regulatory process in order to achieve distributive gains makes it likely that the process of coordination and cooperation needed to create and structure CCPs will be plagued with inefficiencies.

So color me surprised.  Not.  There will be many more articles like that in today’s FT.  Bet on it.

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